Mountain biking in Downieville

Mountain biking in Downieville

Downieville is surrounded by the Yuba River District of the Tahoe National Forest, which makes the area popular for outdoor activities including mountain biking.

The town is a central hub for mountain biking trails and events. In 2003 the Single Speed World Championship was held in Downieville. Also, this is where the world-famous Downieville Classic mountain biking race – a two-day event with an Enduro style or Super-D downhill race – is held. This race is considered to be one of the most extremely challenging cross-country mountin biking races in the world.

If you’re not into races, that’s ok, since Downieville has many mountain biking trails for a variety of skills. Our recommendation though is to check out the IMBA EPIC ride - Big Boulder from Packer Saddle - which is just one hour of driving to the north of the town.

Photo credit: Hero image from MTB Project

When to go

While winters in Downieville are long, cold and cloudy, summers are warm and arid. During summer, the sky is mostly clear, and the temperature is barely above 89F. The best time to visit Downieville for warm-weather activities is from late June to early September. Remember that the warm season only lasts for three months. 

All the info

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Where to stay

Where to eat and drink

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The Downieville Classic has been named one of the top 10 best bike festivals by Outside Magazine. It's a weekend of racing and partying in the Sierras where riders have to pick one tool for two disciplines: a 29-mile cross country race, and a 15-mile downhill with 5000ft of vertical drop.

The Dirt: Downieville is most famous for its races, and riders come to prove themselves hardened and unbreakable. The Downieville Classic Cross Country race is one of the last remaining point-to-point bicycle races in the United States. The 29-mile course follows a rugged "Gold Rush" era route from the mountain town of Sierra City (elevation 4,100'), to the crest of the Sierra Nevada (elevation 7,100'), and down 5,200 vertical feet into downtown Downieville. It’s considered a tribute to the mountains, the rivers, the big trees, the fresh mountain air and the hard men that carved trails through the river canyons in search of gold and prosperity. The Classic is followed by the Downieville Downhill, which drops 5000 vertical feet in 15 miles from Packer Saddle to Downieville. It’s the longest and most demanding downhill mountain bike race in the nation.

Not a racer? Not to worry. Nearly as famous are the Ron’s House of Big Air River Jump, the log pull competition, and an awesome soundtrack of live music.

Details: 1.5 hours from Lake Tahoe.


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